From Beer Cans to Trash Cans: A Wistful Glance at Canada’s Strange Priorities

Photo outside Parliament by John Devine, Awakening Staff

EDITORIAL: By Awakening Staff

Who can forget the fire and the fury over the unfortunate, impulsive bloke who lobbed a beer can onto the Toronto Blue Jays field during a game in the fall of 2016?

While Ken Pagan paid a price for his “malicious” mischief—he actually pleaded guilty to a charge called “mischief under $5,000”—his episode is indicative of a strange syndrome that surfaces in Canada at times, highlighting the country’s misplaced priorities.

So, although Kenneth the Can-Thrower was punished, why do Canadian media ignore so much bigger stuff, such as the sweatshop-like conditions that accompany management’s abuse of labour, including indigenous employees, working in the nation’s casinos? CBC, to its credit, has exposed high-pressure abuse of sales staff at banks and mental-health call centers, but things seem to stop there.

And we must not overlook casino customers who don’t know when to stop and abuse the dealers and other workers on the casino floor. Naturally, the workers too often feel trapped, since they assume that complaining about or reporting bad working conditions, or about crimes and other serious misbehaviour, will result in a job loss and little else, if anything, will be done.

Indeed, in a nation that tells itself nonstop, “If you see something, say something,” things often don’t turn out too well if one actually says something.

Yet, perhaps the media blackout of certain unpleasantries at casinos and the news industry’s fixation on the mundane and the trivial, save for occasional exceptions, it not so hard to explain when we consider all the money—dare we call it “hush money”—that government gambling authorities share with major media to needlessly advertise a monopoly like gambling, be it lotto tickets or casinos.

A NATION ON THIN ICE

Then, as of late, there’s the $5 million expenditure for a temporary—yes, temporary—hockey rink set up within a slap shot’s reach of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, for the stated purpose of celebrating 150 years of hockey in Canada. Nothing wrong with recognizing the national sport, but doesn’t spending that kind of money for a rink that will only exist through February of 2018 seem rather excessive?

What’s really ironic is that the famous Rideau Canal is also near Parliament where, during winter, free ice forms every year (go figure). Surely, the skating that used to take place there could happen again, on the famous body of water where history tells us hockey was born. True, there may be safety concerns about thin ice, but the canal’s very existence kind of melts away any rationale for the new, multi-million-dollar hockey rink.

And even the main entrance to Parliament Hill lacks a wheelchair ramp. That omission isn’t exactly responsible when you consider all the Canadian war veterans and others who would benefit from such a ramp whenever they may want to visit the lawmakers who decide Canada’s military missions and expenditures. Nor would the ramp cost $5 million (one would hope). And it would be permanent.

Lastly, there are regular trash bins outside Parliament (see accompanying photo) with no financial or physical provision for separating recyclable materials from regular rubbish—a curious environmental omission in a nation that calls for battling “climate change” and imposes a carbon tax.

Meanwhile, there are homeless citizens who need food and shelter; and infrastructure always needs upkeep and expansion, but thanks to the abandonment of the policy of low-interest money issuance by the Bank of Canada for public improvements, a policy enacted between 1938 and 1974, what’s physically possible  must nevertheless be stalled while today’s tight-credit policies make money more scarce and expensive, empowering its private issuers to be our master, rather than our servant.

All told, little things sometimes say a lot. And the “little” goings-on in Canada frequently say more than we care to acknowledge. But acknowledge it we must. Building a better society is one thing that should never be thrown in the waste bin. And whistleblowers should be given sanctuary—not cast upon “thin ice” wearing only a pink slip.